Laboratory and Pathology Services
We perform a wide range of testing in the areas of blood chemistry, toxicology, urinalysis, hematology, microbiology, molecular diagnostics, transfusion medicine, cytology and anatomic pathology. The lab also forges alliances with nationally known reference laboratories to provide the widest range of disease testing available.
All testing is performed by properly credentialed technical staff and laboratory physicians, offering the latest technology and equipment and adhering to national standards of quality control and quality improvement. A state-of-the-art information system allows the ordering of tests and timely reporting of results to ensure patient safety.
A board certified pathologist is available at all times to consult on proper test ordering and interpretation.
Blood chemistry, toxicology and urine analysis include testing blood and urine specimens for levels of substances such as electrolytes, enzymes, metabolites, proteins, and hormones that normally circulate in the bloodstream. Detection of imbalances in the concentration of such substances alerts the physician to the presence of disease, and the response to therapy. Such studies include lipid testing for heart disease risk, cardiac markers of acute myocardial infarction, tumor markers, infertility and pregnancy hormone testing, and blood gases, and diabetic monitoring. The section also screens for drugs of abuse and monitors therapeutic drug levels of certain medications.
Cytology is the microscopic study of cell shapes and sizes to identify cancers or pre-cancers. Our staff utilize the latest technology including liquid-based filter cytology and computer-driven image analysis to screen for pre-cancer cells. We also perform diagnostic testing on body fluids and fine needle aspirations of breast, thyroid, lung, and other body sites.
This section performs the complete blood count (CBC) to identify anemia, and changes in white blood cells and platelets which can signify disease. With these data, physicians can prescribe transfusions and monitor their efficacy, identify the presence of infection and response to antibiotics, diagnose leukemia, and monitor patients undergoing chemotherapy. Coagulation testing for patients receiving blood thinners such as coumadin or heparin is also performed. Our lab department interacts closely with cancer care team.
Includes processing cultures of blood, tissues and body fluids to identify bacterial pathogens and determine their sensitivity to appropriate antibiotics. Testing to detect tuberculosis and various viral diseases including influenza, rotavirus, and Epstein Barr virus and bacterial toxins such as clostridium difficile is performed. This includes DNA detection of HPV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. We partner with the Massachusetts State Laboratory, State Health Department, and local health agent to monitor contagious diseases and interact closely with our infectious disease department.
Pathology is the microscopic study of tissues, organs, and biopsies to detect disease, determine its extent and provide guidance on prognosis and therapy. To do this, tissue biopsies need to be processed and sliced to a thickness of 4/1000 of a millimeter, mounted on a glass slide, stained for examination under the microscope. This is the job of the technicians of the histology lab, a highly skilled and well equipped state-of-the-art facility. A specialist physician, called a pathologist, performs the microscopic examination and considers the patient's history and other data in arriving at a diagnosis. Pathologists examine specimens from literally any part of the body and any kind of disease.
Therapeutic phlebotomy is a service the laboratory provides primarily for patients with a diagnosis of hemochromatosis or polycythemia. Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease of iron overload, which results in the body storing too much iron. Polycythemia is a disorder resulting from an over production of red blood cells. Both conditions can be treated by regular phlebotomy (removal of blood) at defined and scheduled time intervals based on laboratory values of the patient’s hemoglobin, hematocrit and/or iron level.
The therapeutic phlebotomy service is located on the first floor of the hospital. Patients needing therapeutic phlebotomy require a physician’s order, and should call 508-236-7818 to schedule an appointment. The hours for therapeutic phlebotomy are primarily Mondays and Thursdays from 7am - 3pm.